• Are you lookin’ at me? A mixed-methods case study to investigate the influence of coaches’ presence on performance testing outcomes in male academy rugby league players

      Richardson, Ben; Dobbin, Nick; White, Christopher; Bloyce, Daniel; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; York St John University; Manchester Metropolitan University; Wrexham Glyndwr University; University of Chester (Sage Publications, 2022-09-21)
      The study used a mixed-methods approach to examine how the presence of coaches influenced male academy rugby league players’ performance during physical performance testing. Fifteen male rugby players completed two trials of 20 m sprint, countermovement jump and prone Yo-Yo test; one with only the lead researcher present and a second where the lead researcher conducted the battery with both the club’s lead S&C coach, academy manager, and the first team assistant and head coach present. Players and coaches then completed one-to-one semi-structured interviews to explore their beliefs, attitudes and opinions towards physical performance testing. In all tests, the players’ performance was better when the coaches were present compared to when this was conducted by the sport scientist alone. Interviews revealed performance testing was used by coaches to exercise their power over players to socialise them into a desired culture. Players’ own power was evident through additional effort during testing when coaches were present. Practitioners should ensure consistency in the presence of significant observers during performance testing of male rugby players to minimise their influence on test outcome.
    • Swarming behaviour in elite race bunch cycling: a case study

      Waldron, Mark; Worsfold, Paul R.; White, Christopher; Murray, Stafford; University of Chester (Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2011-04)
      The current study undertook a dynamical systems analysis of race bunch cycling, considering the 'sports contest' as a dynamical, self organising system (McGarry et al., 2002). Data from one international track racing event was used to analyse a potential non-linear aggregation theory of 'swarming' in the 'points race', with two objectives; 1) To identify a race profile of a basic swarm mentality within the points race; 2) To identify system stability and the possible perturbation of stability in relation to successful and unsuccessful breakaways. Stability was based upon a 'normal' profile of race behaviours, measured by three separate dependent measures, namely; Absolute Difference, Rate of Change and Phase Duration. Results showed; 1) The points race exhibits the quintessential 'attract and repel' elements that characterise the swarm mentality 2) One-way ANOVA revealed that breakaways of both successful (3.3±1.2 half laps) and unsuccessful (3.1±1.5 half laps) conditions tend to differ from the race 'norm' (2.1±1.3 half laps) in terms of phase duration (F(2, 228)=18.4, P<0.05), suggesting that breakaways perturb the system through longer attract and repel phases. Results are discussed in relation to the current and future effectiveness of describing race bunch cycling as a dynamical system.
    • Track cycling: An analysis of the pacing strategies employed during the devil elimination race

      Gill, Kevin; Worsfold, Paul R.; White, Christopher; University of Chester (Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2014-04-01)
      This study aimed to provide a description of the pacing requirements of the track cycling Elimination race, and to identify effective pacing strategies to maximise overall Omnium medal opportunity. Six male, and six female elite competitive races were investigated using half-lap split times. Selected dependant variables were; mean speed and variation in speed. Spearman’s Rho correlations were used to test patterns between dependant variables and the final finishing position of riders. One-way ANOVAs were also applied to test for differences in dependant variables, between successful (top 6 finishers) and unsuccessful groups (7th-12th). Pacing patterns of the men's and women's races were complex, but followed an overall positive and variable pacing pattern, with men's race quarter speeds of 52.8km/h (±1.9), 52.1km/h (±2.1), 51.1km/h (±2.2), and 49.5km/h (±5.5). In general, differences in pacing strategy were not found to significantly influence the success of riders unless employed late in the race. Results are discussed for the application and the development of effective elimination race strategies and tactics.
    • When transport policy becomes health policy: A documentary analysis of active travel policy in England

      Bloyce, Daniel; White, Christopher; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-09-17)
      There has been a succession of policy documents related to active travel published by the British government since the implementation of a National Cycle Network (NCN) in 1995. However, as the latest National Travel Survey (NTS) reveals, the number of journeys made by bike in the UK has remained steadfastly around only 2% (Department for Transport [DfT], 2018a). By using documentary analysis of the available official policy documents and statements, the aim of this paper is to make sense of the policies that have been published concerning active travel (AT) in England. This is done from a figurational sociological perspective. Three key themes emerge from the analysis: (1) the rhetorical, advisory level of the vast majority of the policies; (2) the reliance on a wide network of local authorities to implement AT policy; and (3) the focus placed on individuals to change their behaviour. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that despite a large number of policy publications from a range of government departments claiming to promote AT, little has actually changed in this time period in terms of a national agenda. Despite the successive policies, it seems there is little appetite on behalf of recent governments to make widespread infrastructural changes, where instead the focus has largely been on persuading the individual to seek more active modes of travel, increasingly for their own, individual ‘health’ gains.